Read: Deuteronomy 31
Let’s recap the story: God liberated people from slavery in Egypt, sending them Moses, a uniquely qualified leader, and striking Egypt with plagues until Pharoah relented. God saved the people in the exodus as they crossed the Red Sea pursued by the Egyptian army. God sustained them: giving them the 10 Commandments, and manna and water in the desert. God worked with Moses to provide “the law of Moses” a code that now consists of 613 laws. God brought them to the promised land and told they could take the land, and Moses to send spies into the land to scope it out. Twelve spies entered the promised land, the land promised to Abraham and Sarah 450 years earlier. But when the 12 spies returned there was a problem: ten of the spies were filled with fear, not faith; they reported that the land was filled with “giants” and that there was no way they could succeed. Only two spies, Joshua and Caleb, reported that with God’s help they could succeed.
The people listened to the spies who were filled with doubt; they were afraid to enter the promised land. It was that failure of faith and obedience by the people that led God to the decision to have the people wait 40 years until that generation had passed away. During the next 40 years the next generation learned what it meant to trust God and rely on God to sustain them in the wilderness. Of that generation only Joshua and Caleb, the two faithful spies, would enter the promised land.
So, 40 years later the people are in the same location, on the brink of entering the promised land. It is not Moses who will lead them, it will be Joshua and Caleb. Moses completes his role in leading God’s people: he reviews the covenant of laws that the people have been given and charges the people to either affirm or deny God’s plan. God’s people are reminded of the failure of their forebearers 40 years earlier, and this time they pledge their faith and trust in God, but it could not have been easy. Moses completes his role and passes into the Kingdom of God in eternity. God tells Joshua, “Be strong and bold, for you shall bring the Israelites into the land that I promised them; I will be with you” (v.23).
Fear and faith exist together, often they are a crossroads. But which one of these will control our steps today and determine our future? Shalom, Pastor Rob Nystrom